About the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program

Established in 1999, the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) is a voluntary and collaborative partnership between the dairy industry, academia, and others to promote the health of consumers, the health of the environment, and the health and welfare of dairy animals in the state of California. CDQAP is funded by the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) which receives checkoff dollars from our California dairy producers.

CDQAP provides educational workshops, timely information, and assistance to dairy producers focusing on the components of public health (farm security and food safety), animal care, and environmental stewardship.

Click here for a list of CDQAP partners.

We’ve seen the sign!

In addition to better practices training, animal care protocol courses, and food safety and farm security workshops, CDQAP provides an award-winning first-of-its-kind third-party Environmental Stewardship certification program.

Certified dairies proudly display the road signs they’ve earned after completing the coursework and passing their on-farm third-party evaluation. Consumers, co-ops, and processors can be assured that each certified dairy has completed up-to-date coursework in environmental stewardship and passed an independent evaluation of their facility.

CDQAP works to provide dairy producers with the tools they need to not only gain regulatory compliance but to make ongoing improvements and show consumers that this industry is serious about sustainability – which means environmental stewardship, food safety, and animal well-being – while maintaining economic viability for the long-term.

Denise Mullinax

executive director, CDRF, and assistant director, CDQAP

Nearly 800 California dairy farms are certified in Environmental Stewardship!

One-Of-A Kind, One-To-Be-Trusted

The program was, and still is, one-of-a-kind — a unique, public-private collaboration that continues to produce large-scale results. In 2007, the program received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor.

Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards

“California’s dairy industry is the most heavily regulated in the country,” said Dr. Payne, director, CDQAP. “As new research comes to light and new laws are passed, CDQAP will be side-by-side with dairy producers, helping them understand new scientifically-sound practices, innovations and regulatory requirements.”

The CDQAP has had a positive impact. Dairy producers who have attended CDQAP workshops better understand regulatory requirements, industry best management practices, and scientifically-sound options for protecting air and water quality. CDQAP certified dairies perform better in regulatory inspections. And with more than half of California dairies certified as leaders in environmental stewardship, consumers are assured that their dairy products come from farms that diligently work to reduce their environmental impact and demonstrate the best animal care practices.

It’s our 20th Anniversary!

For more than 20 years, CDQAP has been working with California’s dairy farmers to make continuous improvements in their processes, resulting in a tremendous positive impact in sustaining their operations and adhering to the highest standards for protecting the environment, optimizing animal care, and ensuring food safety.

To learn more about the history and progress of the CDQAP over the past 20 years, click here.